ETHIOPIA – Rorank Business Plc, a local Ethiopian company that produces alcoholic beverages under the ownership of British giant alcoholic beverage investor Vasari Group, has ceased making denatured alcohol due to shortage of raw material.

The production facility located at Amhara Regional State, has been making and supplying denatured alcohol for five years to factories that make milk, cosmetics and medication.

Other than shortage of raw material, the company has stopped making the products due to the 60% excise tax on denatured alcohol legislated by parliament a month ago, Addis Fortune reports.

However, the Ministry of Finance has temporarily waived the newly imposed duty due to the spread of the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) in order to enable the production of hand sanitizers.

The company has been both importing and buying the raw materials locally needed to produce pure alcohol.

“After doing cost analysis, we decided to limit our production to drinking alcohol only,” said a company source, who adds that the company is planning to downsize its 400 employees by half.

The liquor factory has the capacity to bottle and package 35,000 bottles an hour.

It bottles whiskey, vodka, gin, ouzo and rum with alcoholic contents ranging between 20pc to 40pc and a variety of flavoured liquors such as lemon and super mint.

The plant’s monthly supply of drinking alcohol to the market was between 60,000lt to 90,000lt two months ago. However, it is currently producing 30,000lt of spirits a month.

Vasari Group has invested 50 million dollars in the plant that is known for making the Super Eagle and Crystal brands.

Vasari is a leading frontier and emerging markets alcoholic beverage investor with over 40 years of experience operating market-leading consumer goods companies.

Finchaa and Metehara are the two sugar factories that are currently producing ethanol from molasses with a combined production capacity of three million litres a year.

The two plants sell 300,000lt of ethanol daily to the National Alcohol & Liquor Factory.